Marine and Coastal Tourism BA (Hons)

What is special about this course?

This unique course is the first of its kind in the UK, focusing on the many uses of the marine resource, and how tourism interacts with these. Examples are drawn from both the UK and internationally.

Theory and practice are integrated, with classroom based sessions on sustainable development, business management, climate and environment, and the scope and scale of the industry. This is underpinned with the opportunity to develop personal skills and leadership awards in a variety of activities, including sailing, powerboat, sea kayaking, surf, SUP, snorkelling and SCUBA, and coasteering. Practical sessions also include guiding and interpretation skills and a science-based overview of these environments.

Students have the opportunity to become involved in real development projects, as they happen, including working with the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce as Fort William makes itself ready to receive its first cruise ship visitors.

There is also the chance to visit boat shows and other events around the UK and to have regular contact with practising sector professionals.

Special features

  • Strong links with many marine and coastal-based businesses in Scotland and throughout the UK
  • Applying cutting edge theory and research to the exciting and dynamic tourism sector
  • Excellent work-based placement opportunities around the UK and abroad
  • Integrated practical programme to enhance your skills and experience in marine and coastal activities
  • Possibility to gain instructor qualifications endorsed by National Governing Bodies
  • Opportunity to plan and carry out significant expedition, with a discovery and research focus (in May 2017 students travelled to the Lofoten Islands, off Norway). Fundraising and gaining sponsorship are part of this process.
  • Be part of a vibrant and active student community of outdoor enthusiasts based in Fort William – within the Outdoor Capital of the UK
  • You will have access to outstanding facilities set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • You will also need to have Standard Grade, National 4/5 or GCSE English and Mathematics, and be able to demonstrate your commitment to marine and coastal activities
  • Applicants with significant industry or activity experience will be considered providing they can demonstrate sufficient academic potential
  • You may be required to attend an interview

Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules are:

  • Marine and coastal tourism in the UK
  • Introduction to adventure tourism
  • Introduction to the customer-centred business 
  • Adventure industry: products and services
  • Work placement 1

Option modules include:

  • Introduction to enterprise and marketing
  • Introduction to global environmental issues
  • Adventure geography: the Scottish perspective

Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • International marine and coastal tourism
  • Research skills
  • Planning international expeditions
  • Management of the marine resource

Option modules include:

  • Archaeological sciences
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable tourism and the environment
  • Work placement 3

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Adventure opertaions management
  • Marine tourism field course
  • Contemporary issues in management
  • Marine environments
  • Work placement 2

Option modules include:

  • Management information systems
  • Contemporary marketing
  • Society and culture of mountain regions (also covers island and remote coastal areas)

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Critical perspectives of marine and coastal tourism
  • Emergent tourism trends

Option modules include:

  • Marine archaeology and heritage of northern Scotland
  • Selling 'cold' islands
  • International expedition leadership

You must also complete a dissertation or research and plan a new business.

How will I study my course?


  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, with some teaching by video conference from other university campuses, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE).
  • You will also have the opportunity of increasing your skills through practical experiential learning. The main practical disciplines included are snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing (dinghy and yacht), power boating, paddle sports (sea kayak and surf), surfing and coasteering, with a wide range of progression and application of theories at all 4 year levels.

How long will my course last?

Full-time: 4 years 

Where can I study my course?

Start date


How much will my course cost?

For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

    Full-time Full-time
Year 1 CertHE £8,000 p.a. £8,000 p.a.
Year 2 DipHE £8,000 p.a. £8,000 p.a.
Year 3 Degree £8,000 p.a. £8,000 p.a.
Year 4 Honours free** free**

**4th year free only for students studying full-time who have paid for the previous 3 years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) -  £1,340 (2016-17 and 2017-18)

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying.


International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2016-17 2017-18
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £10,000 £10,500
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year*** £5,040 £5,250
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)*** £1,680 £1,750

***There is no part-time study option for Tier 4 sponsored international students.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.

What funding can I apply for?

External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant university partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider careers in:

  • Guiding, coaching and instructing marine and coastal outdoor activities
  • Work in any of the various aspects of the marine and coastal industry – marinas, marine wildlife tourism, guiding, adventure tourism, outdoor education, international expeditions
  • Working in product and strategy development, from company to national level
  • Setting up your own small business
  • Driving the change within national tourism boards or government

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism to the following university postgraduate courses: 

Is there more information available online?

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

What our students are saying

The University of the Highlands and Islands stands out from other universities because of its incredible locations. Fort William is the home to an active outdoor community and the university feeds directly into this.

The lecturers have in-depth knowledge of their subjects and are incredibly helpful. This, alongside the company of like-minded students, has really helped me to develop and grow.

Louise Ferguson is in her third year of the BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism at West Highland College UHI.

I started studying Geography at the University of Edinburgh but soon realised I wasn't enjoying it so I moved here to the Marine and Coastal Tourism degree. I am really enjoying the course. It's tough to know what will suit you but in my experience, you'll be most successful if you follow something you are really passionate about.

David Lamond is in his third year of the BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism at West Highland College UHI.

This is a very exciting time to get involved in Marine and Coastal Tourism.  Over the next few decades, how these resources are managed will make all the difference.  As the demand for tourism activity increases, we have an opportunity, but we also have a great responsibility: sustainable practice can enhance lives, protect environments, and develop a thriving tourism economy.  Get the big picture, and make yours an informed voice as you enter this exciting sector.  Study with us in the Outdoor Capital of the UK, where real development is happening right now,  and graduate with a BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism.

Alex Williams, Programme Leader

Apply for Marine and Coastal Tourism BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2018

International applicants should apply using the UHI International application form. Please download and print the form, complete and return using the address indicated. More information is available for international applicants at our international student page

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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